Whelan tips Martinez for the top

Martinez guided Latics to another season of top-flight football on

Survival Sunday following a 1-0 success over FA Cup runners-up

Stoke City. The three-point haul meant a second successful campaign

for Martinez in keeping Wigan up after the club’s former player

joined from Swansea City. Whelan knew that appointing Martinez was

the right move having been a star for the club as a player and the

Latics supremo expects him to go from strength to strength.

Although Whelan is not worried about losing the 37-year-old’s

services this summer, he believes as his manager continues to grow

and learn he will eventually move on to bigger and better things.

“Roberto is something special,” said Whelan. “When I lost Steve

Bruce, I lost a very good manager, but I would never stand in

anybody’s way if they want to go to a bigger club. As soon as I

lost Steve, I went for Roberto because he is Wigan through and

through. “Roberto is confident we can finish in the top half next

season and I have no doubt he can do it because the youngsters

coming through are quality players. We can add to them, but Roberto

doesn’t spend money foolishly. He’s a wise manager and I trust him

implicitly. Together we are a great team. “In all my playing days

and all my days as a chairman, Roberto is the best manager I’ve

ever worked with. He’s totally honest, he’s totally up front. He’s

the same with the players. He makes them work hard and is strict

with them on certain things, especially drinking alcohol, which I

agree with. Like him, I believe football and alcohol don’t mix. “My

biggest problem in the next couple of years will be: Can I keep

him? I’ll keep him this summer, I have no doubt, but he is destined

for bigger things. There is no doubt in my mind he will go to one

of the top European clubs. “You just have to see the way he works,

he is so calm. You don’t see him jumping up and down on the line

like other managers. He keeps his cool all the time.”